Faith, family and friends, helps cancer widow continue.

January 21, 2015
Bob and Margaret Wrasse in 2010.  Photo by Rob Alway.

Bob and Margaret Wrasse in 2010.

Survivor Story.

Sponsored by All Access Care of Ludington. Located at 329 N. Jebavy Dr. in Ludington; 231-425-4544;

By Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – It is becoming more rare to experience seeing people who are truly in love. A lot of times life can get in the way of really being able to put all differences aside and just being able to co-exist with the one who was truly meant for you. In the case of Ludington resident Margaret Wrasse, love came very easy to her and her late husband, Robert.

Robert was her soul mate and they complimented each other in ways many couples couldn’t. What she didn’t know how to do, Robert did, and what he didn’t know, she stepped in and filled the void. It was a relationship that just came effortless to each of them.

“I knew him so well,” Margaret says. “We were soul mates. We meshed well and everyone who knew us knew we were a good balance.”

The couple met in 1969 and married in 1972. Their two daughters both reside in Ludington, Sarah (Justin) Ray and Bethany Wrasse. Sarah and Justin have two boys, Robert and Walter and Bethany has one son, Jackson. Needless to say, Margaret and Robert were blessed in many ways.

Robert was the pastor of Prayer and Praise Assembly of God church in Ludington for 20 years and served as worship leader at the church for years before that. Serving people in the light of God was Robert and Margaret’s calling. Together they not only got to spend their lives together as husband and wife, but they also got to work together in helping people find their way through what can, at times, be a very difficult world.

Bob and Margaret worshipping in church.

Bob and Margaret worshipping in church.

“Robert was real, he was lead by God,” Margaret says. “The church is the people of God and Robert was called to be there. It was a part of our life and who we were in that building is who we were wherever we were.”

In 2009, the difficult world turned towards Margaret and Robert when Robert was diagnosed with stage four melanoma and was given six months to a year to live. Some couples might get their affairs in order for the final stages of life together, but Margaret and Robert decided they were going to fight and turn to God and prayer for guidance during this difficult time.

With many people, including their church family (and many other in the local faith community) behind them, they started their journey to fight the cancer. Robert completed three different medical trials, but none of them took and the cancer ultimately took his life in December of 2010. The couple’s two daughters were living in Seattle, Washington at the time and Margaret and Robert had been there since August 2010 to complete his third trial at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“We were there until he died,” Margaret said. “We thought we’d be there a short time and then be back home. I had no winter clothes and basically just sandals.”

Forced to face life without her partner, Margaret returned to Ludington with her daughter Bethany and her son, Jackson. She came back to a large home that she shared with Robert and all the headaches that came along with living alone and not knowing how to do a lot of the things that the man around the house always completed.

“There was a long period of numbness,” Margaret says. “The nice thing was is that I had employment right away.”

all_access_sponsorship_100114For many years, Margaret worked as an adjunct English instructor at West Shore Community College. She retired before Robert was diagnosed, but now living alone, on basically Social Security, it wasn’t enough to get by, so she returned to work at West Shore and picking up a few retail jobs as well.

She had always planned on growing old with Robert, retiring with him, traveling with him and working with people with him, but that was no longer the physical plan.

“Whatever we were going to do, we were going to do it together,” she says. “It was going to be so cool. I never thought I was going to grow old without him. We were one and we were going do this thing.”

Although Robert is not present in the physical world, Margaret still can feel his presence around her daily and she knows that God’s plan will continue to guide her through her journey as he continues to guide Robert through his.

“I sense that Robert is here, especially when I’m doing the things he used to do,” she says. “Robert is alive more now than I am where he is. He is healed. He has no cancer. He is alive in eternity and we will see each other again.”

Continuing to teach at West Shore and working part time at The Evergreen Natural Foods Market, Margaret finds her balance between being overwhelmed at times and pushing forward, knowing she has so much more Robert and God want her to do. But, that doesn’t mean the day to day grind doesn’t get to her at times.

“I have a lot of support in this community,” she says. “There are a lot of people who help me.”

Last summer, the community gathered around Margaret after hearing the story of her 30-plus year old roof that was in dire repair. Cornerstone Baptist Church, along with many others, gathered funds to buy supplies while construction contractor and family friend Dan Hunter donated the labor to put a new roof on the 125-year-old Rath Avenue home.

If it wasn’t for people like that and her friends Mike Motcheck, Pastor Henrik Lidman, Mike and Becky Roberson, brother, Bill Westphal, son-in-law, Justin Ray and many other friends and neighbors, she wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things around her home by herself, Margaret says. Jokingly, she says that maybe she should have swapped duties with Robert more often and she could have learned more home maintenance and he could have maybe then learned how to do better laundry.

“The house was built in 1890, it’s old,” she says. “I don’t have heat upstairs currently because two of the radiators have leaks and don’t work any longer.”

Keeping her spirits high, Margaret enjoys being in a community like Ludington, where she knows she can call on others and God and they will be there for her.

“God takes care of widows,” she says. “I play the widow card sometimes. I will say, ‘God, you took him from me!’”

As for now, Margaret enjoys spending time with her growing family and close friends and knows that God and Robert are looking out for her and guiding her to be the best person she can be alone, without her partner in crime.

I don’t think it would nearly as possible to get the help I do in a big town as it is in a small town like Ludington,” she said. “People take care of me and cared about Robert. Robert was all about caring about people and leading them to the Lord. He loved people.”